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Writing foreign names.

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Writing foreign names.

Postby Daichi » Mon 08.15.2005 6:25 am

If a name ends with a consonant, as mine (Adam) does, are there rules for which sound should end the Japanese pronunciation? (ma, mi, mu, me, mo?)

For some reason when I first considered this, very early in my studies of Japanese, I instinctively thought of my own name as Adamu (it just seemed right), and was later shown to be 'correct' when I looked it up.

But, is there anything wrong in principle with writing my name Adame or Adami etc.?
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RE: Writing foreign names.

Postby Kates » Mon 08.15.2005 9:56 am

Usually, when a foreign word ends in a consonant the '-u' syllable is taken. (ie: MU, NU, KU, etc) So yes, your intuition was right: ADAMU would be the romaji way to write your name in Japanese: アダム.

Although, TO usually replaces TU, since TU is pronounce more like TSU. (And TSU usually is the '-ts' ending sound: ie: peanuts--piinattsu--ピーナッツ).

If you wrote: ADAME or ADAMI, it would be pronouced as such. The Japanese are quite familiar with the fact that foreign words often do not end in vowel sounds, and have adapted their language (or at least, the way they write/read foreign words in Japanese) to fit that.
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RE: Writing foreign names.

Postby Daichi » Mon 08.15.2005 10:04 am

Thank you Kates, much appreciated.
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RE: How about my name?

Postby dreimer » Fri 08.19.2005 1:21 am

Kates wrote:
Usually, when a foreign word ends in a consonant the '-u' syllable is taken. (ie: MU, NU, KU, etc) So yes, your intuition was right: ADAMU would be the romaji way to write your name in Japanese: アダム.

Although, TO usually replaces TU, since TU is pronounce more like TSU. (And TSU usually is the '-ts' ending sound: ie: peanuts--piinattsu--ピーナッツ).

If you wrote: ADAME or ADAMI, it would be pronouced as such. The Japanese are quite familiar with the fact that foreign words often do not end in vowel sounds, and have adapted their language (or at least, the way they write/read foreign words in Japanese) to fit that.


My name is "Dan"....which kinda makes things a bit fuzzy in my mind...That, and I always am reminded of Karate Kid...darn Hollywood...:|
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RE: Writing foreign names.

Postby Daichi » Fri 08.19.2005 4:30 am

My name is "Dan"....which kinda makes things a bit fuzzy in my mind...That, and I always am reminded of Karate


Dan is easy. It's just, well, Dan. - ダン

Assuming Dan is short for Daniel you can write Danieru - ダニエル

Or Danny becomes Danii - ダニ-
Last edited by Daichi on Fri 08.19.2005 4:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Writing foreign names.

Postby dreimer » Fri 08.19.2005 1:30 pm

Thanks...I was wondering what the long (Daniel) translation would be, but that makes sense. And...nobody ever calls me Danny, or any variation (my grandmother was the last person allowed to call me that).

I appreciate the response.B)
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RE: Writing foreign names.

Postby Christian_ » Fri 08.19.2005 2:53 pm

http://www.takase.com/Names/NameInJapaneseA.htm Copy and paste that into your url and itll show you some common american names and their katakana and hiragana translations.
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RE: daaan da-dan dan~

Postby Kates » Fri 08.19.2005 3:13 pm

dreimer wrote:My name is "Dan"....which kinda makes things a bit fuzzy in my mind...That, and I always am reminded of Karate Kid...darn Hollywood...:|


I had a Japanese friend who was dating an American named "Dan"... and the funny thing about 'Dan' is that it's also a Japanese word. Several, in fact. ^^; And they all have kanji! Here we go~

段: step/stair (or a ladder rung) -- also stage, layer, (table) column
階段(かいだん) staircase

団: a body/group/troupe/company (of people)
医師団(いしだん): a medical team

壇: a platform/stage/podium
演壇(えんだん): a speaker's platform

断: decision
断を下す(だんをくだす): give one's/make a decision

談: talk/conversation
相談(そうだん): a consultation/talk/conference

暖: warmth
暖を取る(だんをとる): to warm oneself (at a fire)

男: man/male
男子(だんし): a boy/son/man/male

^_^ Though, most (all?) of these are ON-readings... meaning that usually these kanji are read 'dan' only when combined with another kanji. (Take 'male' for instance... usually, when by itself, it is read OTOKO... but when KO is added, the word is read DANSHI.)

And the A in Japanese is more of an 'ah' sound in English. So, Dan and these 'DAN' aren't really pronounced exactly the same... ): But it's still fun. ^_^
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RE: Writing foreign names.

Postby Daichi » Sat 08.20.2005 4:57 am

And the A in Japanese is more of an 'ah' sound in English. So, Dan and these 'DAN' aren't really pronounced exactly the same... ): But it's still fun. ^_^


I keep forgetting the differences between English and American pronunciation of vowels! For me the 'A' in Dan is pronounced almost identically in English or Japanese.
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RE: Writing foreign names.

Postby Mariya » Sat 08.20.2005 5:01 am

How about Japanese names? Is there a Kanji for every one of them? :o
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RE: Writing foreign names.

Postby Kates » Sat 08.20.2005 11:48 am

Mariya: No. Some parents 'give' kanji-ified names to their children, some do not. I can't even begin to give you a reason why cuz I have no idea. ^_^ Like, there's kanji for the name 'YUKI' but I've seen girls named Yuki who write their name with kana. Maybe it's personal choice, or maybe their parents just wrote her name with kana.

BUT. Almost any sound can be reproduced (maybe sometimes, poorly) in Japanese--and there are a billion ways to read all the kanji that exist.... so most words could be written in kanji. Even 'mirowave'. ^_^ It's... kind of hard to explain, I guess, unless you've studied kanji somewhat.

Take my full name for example: Katharine. It is written: Kya-sa-ri-n キャサリン in Japanese. Now, of course "Katharine" is NOT a Japanese word, right? But it can be written in Japanese katakana by 'translating' the sounds. The "Ka" kind of sounds like KYA in Japanese... "tha" becomes SA... "rine" becomes RIN. So we get キャサリン. With me so far? ^_^

There are kanji that can be read KYA, (and the same with SA and RIN)... so one day a teacher-friend 'gave' me kanji for my name: 伽砂鈴. (Kyasarin -- meanings: attending / sand / bell respectively)

So, see? ALL names can have kanij. ^_^ I guess that was my point... >_>
Last edited by Kates on Sat 08.20.2005 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Writing foreign names.

Postby neostereo » Mon 08.22.2005 2:50 pm

Kates just said what I was about to say, every name can have a kanji :D
But my name, for example: Laura. It's ローラ [ro-ra] in japanese, and I think it sounds funny. Too funny. -___- Maybe I'll go and hange my name to something with no L's in it..
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RE: Writing foreign names.

Postby Mariya » Mon 08.22.2005 3:18 pm

Thanks for all the help, Kates and neostereo :D. I sort of get what you mean ^^ so my name would be...マリヤ then? :) I'm glad its so perfectly fitting to write lol.
Last edited by Mariya on Mon 08.22.2005 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Writing foreign names.

Postby Kates » Mon 08.22.2005 3:37 pm

マリヤ or, more likely, マリア. But honestly, it's YOUR name, YOU pick. ^_^ If you like the YA sound more than just the A... go for it. ^^; But, it doesn't make a whole lot of pronunciation difference. (:

真理夜 真李夜 perhaps one of these two? MA RI and YA are all kind of have limited kanji options ^^; But that made it somewhat easy. I chose 真 for MA because it means 'truth' (and a girlfriend of mine uses this kanji in her name: MAYU 真有 'truth' 'exists'). The second is a bit artsy maybe...? It is 李, here read RI, but also read 'sumomo'--which is a Japanese peach. Last is 夜 for YA, which you may know, means 'night'. (The only other YA that I thought might work was 矢, arrow... ^^; )

Don't take those as completely accurate, though... I was just having some fun. ^^; hehe
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RE: Writing foreign names.

Postby Mariya » Mon 08.22.2005 4:06 pm

Lol I'll note that down, it'll probably be years or maybe decades until I'm as experinenced as you. Doumo arigatou, Kates-san :D.
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